Friday, January 30, 2009

Stovetop Popcorn-- Frugal, Fast, and Fun

We're still just buried in snow here, and we've been having fun with it. A kid gets thirsty? They open the back door and scoop some snow into their cup, take it to the table, watch it melt, then drink all that cold goodness down. Somehow, water always tastes more magical when it started as snow, don't you think?

Along with our free and fairydust-imbued drinks, we decided to pop some popcorn on the stovetop. The truth is, Mommy hasn't been out to the store in nearly two weeks now, so we were running low on "snack foods." We've been keeping popcorn in the pantry though, so out it came! Heather did a wonderful tutorial on stovetop popcorn over at The Simple, Green, Frugal Co-Op (the rest of that post is wonderful too!). I know that it sounds as if it takes a lot more time and effort than popping a bag of kernels in the microwave, but it really doesn't take much time at all. I use bacon grease to pop ours in and test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping in just one kernel. When that single kernel pops, I pour in enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan with a single layer of kernels, usually about 1/2 cup. This 1/2 cup of unpopped kernels makes enough popcorn to split into two batches for my three littles.

Which saves me from having to head to the store for yet one more day. ;)

There are a million and one recipes for jazzing up your popcorn. Just type "popcorn recipes" into search engine and you should be able to find something to suit any occassion. I grew up in the land of bland popcorn though, so we don't add anything at all to ours. The bacon grease alone gives it enough flavor to suit us (well, except The Husband).

Can anyone guess what we'll be munching on while watching the Superbowl? :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day

The snow is piling up yet again. On top of the previous big drop we got, we are expected to have up to 11 more inches of accumulation by tomorrow. This is the perfect situation for spotting the tracks of wild (and not so wild) critters out of doors. They're all out there gathering the last bits of what they can scrounge from the cold, frozen earth. It's amazing how they always seem to sense the changes in weather, isn't it? We spotted the tracks of birds (probably sparrows), squirrels, and even a rabbit. I'm hoping we get very lucky with some raccoon tracks tomorrow, but we never seem to find them, even when I spots the raccoons in our neighbor's garbage the night before. Tricksy, tricksy beings they are!

Other snow day antics:

Playing round after round of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Go Fish.

Drinking more hot chocolate than is probably good for us.

Keeping our hats on indoors to stay warm.

Cuddling Papa (aka The Furnace) to stay warm.

Making watercolor art for the kids' rooms, thanks to Amy's inspiring post. We didn't have any contact paper, so I just used clear tape to make the initials.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Unfortunately, I didn't get to make most of the dinner dishes from last week's menu because two of my littles got sick, and when my kids are sick there's only one meal that they'll have: homemade chicken noodle soup. So that's what we had for dinner Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I did manage to sneak the Tortellini in Broth with Escarole into their bowls, but none of the kids would touch the escarole. I thought the dish was delicious though! If you can't find escarole or just want a substitute, spinach or nettles would be wonderful.

I'm sure Monday at least will be another chicken noodle soup day, but here's the plan for now:

Monday: Breakfast-- Cheesy Scrambled Eggs on Buttered Toast
Cinnamon Applesauce
Dinner-- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Tuesday: Breakfast-- Walnut Pancakes
Dinner-- The Husband's Choice

Wednesday: Breakfast-- Baked Oatmeal
Dinner-- Pork and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Rice

Thursday: Breakfast-- Breakfast Burritos
Dinner-- Roasted Chicken Breasts with Carrots and Onions

Friday: Breakfast-- Chunky Monkey Oatmeal
Dinner-- Chili and Romaine Salad

Saturday: Breakfast-- Raisin Oatmeal Muffins
Dinner-- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Italian Salad

Sunday: Breakfast-- Baked Oatmeal
Dinner-- Homemade Pizza

Don't forget to join us for Menu Plan Monday!